Welcome to Nerd Nite SF, 3rd Wednesdays at Rickshaw Stop!

Congratulations! You have happened upon our website, where you’ll find information on all our future and past events (going back to 2010!). We are Nerd Nite SF, a monthly lecture-in-a-bar series where people from all walks of life give presentations on everything from video game design to historic shipwrecks. We’ve hosted mimes, musicians and everyone in between, with the goal of being entertaining, silly, and most of all, educational. Come learn a new fact, make a new friend, or try a new drink! Rickshaw Stop creates a special drink based on the month’s presentations!

UPDATE for Nerd Nite SF #142: New Speaker!

Our speaker Stepy Kamei will not be able to make it for this month’s show due to unforeseen circumstances; HOWEVER, the brilliant and generous Sahil Bansal will be stepping in to give a talk about SPACE, the celestial objects in it, and the people who have pursued them throughout history:

“Chasing Shadows – Tales of the Greatest(?) Eclipse Chasers”

From ancient civilizations to modern day American presidents, solar eclipses have fascinated us all. This talk is about those people who dared to go beyond the ordinary, running across the surface of the Earth in epic quests to chase our Moon’s shadow. Want to know about these fun/whimsical/ill-advised voyages and how they informed our modern sense of wonder and curiosity about space? Let’s dive right in! 

About Sahil:

Aside from being an amateur solar eclipse chaser, Sahil works by day trying to make the internet a better place as a product manager in cloud storage. You can talk to him about all that goes into orchestrating a synchronized dance of electrons to bring you cat videos anytime, anywhere. Care to become a fellow eclipse chaser? Come say hi!

Nerd Nite #142: Time, Tentacles, and Most Delicious Poison

Wednesday, May 22nd
7pm Doors
Tickets: $15

“Why time might be circular: A Linguistic Investigation”
By: Stepy Kamei
Using the text of Alice in Wonderland as a reference point, follow Stepy down the rabbit hole to investigate the very real possibility that time might actually be happening all at once. However, we can only perceive it as going forwards or backwards because of linguistic constraints. But … what would happen if we broke free from the constraints of language?

Stepy Kamei is a writer and podcast host who is equally passionate about three things: poetry, linguistics, and educating everyone within earshot about both of those things.

“Octopathos or, How to Draw an Octopus”
By: Sam Julian
Octopus bodies are about as far from human biology as it’s possible to be, and yet people still find them cute. How does this happen, and how can it be exploited to get people to care about ocean conservation? Cartoonist Sam Santos Julian will share his experience designing cartoon octopuses in his graphic novel Octopolis, how the principles of cartooning influence empathy in the reader, and —of course— how to draw an octopus.

Sam Santos Julian is a cartoonist and the creator of Octopolis, a graphic novel that he self-published this year. Sam studied Creative Writing at Stanford, and has worked as a game and product designer. Originally from San Diego, Sam now lives in Daly City with his partner and dog. He volunteers as a SCUBA diver at the SF Aquarium of the Bay, where he gets to feed the wolf eels, giant sea bass, and of course, the octopus.

“Most Delicious Poison”
By: Noah Whiteman
Scratch beneath the surface of a coffee bean, a red pepper flake, a poppy seed, a mold spore, a foxglove leaf, a magic-mushroom cap, a marijuana bud, or an apple seed, and we find a bevy of strange chemicals. We use these to greet our days (caffeine), titillate our tongues (capsaicin), recover from surgery (opioids), cure infections (penicillin), mend our hearts (digoxin), bend our minds (psilocybin), calm our nerves (CBD), and even kill our enemies (cyanide). But why do plants and fungi produce such chemicals? And how did we come to use and abuse some of them?

Noah Whiteman is an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is Professor of Integrative Biology and of Molecular and Cell Biology. At Berkeley, he is also affiliated with the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, Center for Computational Biology, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Jepson and University Herbaria, and Essig Museum of Entomology. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020 to write Most Delicious Poison.

We Are Delighted to Welcome Back Friends of the Show:
Beats by DJ and Jelly
SF Public Library
Self-help Tarot with Ben Grandis

NERD NITE SF #141: Changing Clothes, Climates, and… Birds?

Spring is in the air and with the changing of the seasons come deeper questions about what it means to “change.” Change can be as mundane as putting on new clothes – or as complex as getting into an elaborate cosplay. Change can be as world-spanning as human-made climate shifts or as subtle as evolutionary adjustments to the shape of a finch’s beak. Join us for a night of fascinating fun; to learn about how people, laws, and animals change and how you can be a change-maker too!

April 17th at the Rickshaw Stop

Doors at 7pm / Show at 8pm

Tickets Here! $10 Online / $15 Door

Foxy McQueen – “A Glimpse Into The World of Cosplay!”
A peek into the world of cosplay and all that goes into bringing your favorite characters to life! The word “cosplay” comes from a blend of two words: “costume” and “play.” Cosplayers buy or make their own costumes to pay tribute to their favorite characters (from anime, movies, video games, comics, etc) and wear them to conventions, movie premieres, and so much more! Some cosplayers use their craft as a profession, while most do it out of passion as a hobby. Come catch a glimpse of what it’s like to be a cosplayer!

Speaker Bio:
Foxy McQueen (@foxyscreamqueen) is a local California cosplayer and published model. She began cosplaying locally in 2017. Since then, Foxy has cosplayed as over 20 different characters from various different fandoms and has attended conventions all over California and occasionally out of state. She uses a combination of purchased items and crafting pieces to make her costumes. To Foxy, cosplay is more than just a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. Check her out on IG to follow her cosplay journey!

Sonja Chen – “Can Grazin’ Goats Solve California’s Climate Crisis?”
We’ve all heard that goat grazing helps fight California wildfires, but how feasible is the idea really? Behind those cute goats monching on the side of the road lies a complex economic and legal scheme that spans from the backcountry of the Sierra Nevadas to the mountains of Peru. We will explore the ways in which the structure of California’s goat grazing industry obstructs the state’s efforts to address climate change by restricting the growth of a sustainable vegetation management industry. You will never look at grazin’ goats the same way!

Speaker Bio:
Sonja Chen is a law student at UC Law San Francisco concentrating in social justice and dispute resolution. Spurred by unending curiosity, her wide range of hobbies and interests include urban farming, painting, reading creative nonfiction, swimming, and enjoying nature. She currently owns a boutique events business and an orange cat named Rory. Her favorite mathematical experience is the Fibonacci sequence and her favorite English word is juxtaposition. She is a Gemini and a Wood Dog.

Adan Deeb – “If You Give a Bird a French Fry: Urbanization’s Effects on Beaks of Darwin’s Finches”
We see birds eating things they shouldn’t eat almost daily. This quirky behavior of theirs is commonplace (and kind of cute). But what really happens when birds eat french fries, eggs, or tortillas instead of bugs and seeds? In this talk, we will try to understand one way that urban civilization affects how animals interact with their environment, and how that drives evolutionary change.

Speaker Bio:
Adan is a biologist passionate about environmental justice and equitable scientific education. She is an unapologetic nerd and spends her free time birding, reading, and consuming her body weight in coffee.

We are delighted to welcome our Friends of the Show:
Beats by DJ and Jelly
SF Public Library
Self-help Tarot with Ben Grandis

NERD NITE SF #140: Mind n’ Melodies March

Wednesday, March 20th

Rickshaw Stop – 1155 Fell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Doors at 7

Tickets $10 presale / $15 door – Available Here!

They say that music soothes even the savage beast, and while we can’t vouch for any beast-related benefits, we are excited to welcome the brain-tingling Dan McCalley and Shell Space to the stage for this month’s Nerd Nite!


Dan McCalley – “A New Era in Mental Healthcare: Brain Stimulation Therapy for Addiction and Beyond”

A (brief) history of alcohol and drug use throughout human society, a look at our previous (not-so-great) attempts to treat addiction, and a final pitch for how brain stimulation may bring about a new era of medicine for addiction and beyond.

Bio: Dan McCalley, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford. His research focuses on developing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, an FDA-approved depression treatment, for addiction.

Shell Space (Band) – “Nerd Rock” 

A musical tour of nerdom, from literature to mathematics and everything in between.

Bio: Shell Space is a six-piece indie rock band birthed in Berkeley. Their songs reference Tilden Park, rectangles, and feldspar

Find Shell Space’s music here!

We are of course also thrilled to welcome back returning friends of the show:

  • DJ&Jelly spinning sweet beats
  • Self-help Tarot with Ben Grandis
  • Friends from the SF Public Library

February Show UPDATE! Nerd Nite Co-Founder to Guest with OFFICIAL Nerd Nite Book!

Ahoy, Bay Area nerds! I’m delighted to bring you an update for our February 21st show! To celebrate the release of HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE FUNGI, book contributor Kelly Jansen and Matt Wasowski, Nerd Nite co-founder and co-author, will be our special guests for the night! Books will also be available for purchase from Book Passage at the event! Come on by to chat with Nerd Nite literati and (if you ask nicely!) get a signed copy of the OFFICIAL Nerd Nite book. We’re excited to bring you this rare opportunity to meet with one of the founders our beloved show and community space.

Click here for tickets to the show!

Nerd Nite SF#139: Hiking Trails, Gender Equity in Medical Research, and the History of the Presidio

Come one, come all, to the first Nerd Nite of 2024! We’re excited to start off the year with some classic local topics and histories. Featuring talks from trailblazers (both literal and figurative) local trivia gurus, and a UCSF medical researcher, this is one show you don’t want to miss!

Get your tickets here!
Wednesday, February 21st
Doors 7pm / Show 8pm
$10 online / $15 door

Lucas Ho – “Hidden History of the Presidio/Marina”

What are the earthquake shacks? How did Laguna St get its name? Where was Irish coffee introduced to the US? Learn all this, and more hidden history of the Presidio/Marina.

Speaker Bio:
Lucas is a software engineer living in San Francisco who was born and raised in the Bay Area. He previously worked with the authors of Walking SF’s 49 Mile Scenic Drive to create a walking tour app, which inspired a walking tour he led, which inspired this Nerd Nite talk.

Joe Gibson – “The Wild World of Trailbuilding” 

Have you ever been hiking on a trail and wondered, “how did this get here?” Trail crew leader Joe Gibson will peel back the curtain on the subtle art of trail building, sharing a glimpse of the techniques, philosophy, and science that go into making a hiking trail seem like it has been there since time immemorial. We will explore the arcane profession of trail work, with all of its culture, quirks, and adventure. You’ll never look at a trail the same!

Speaker Bio:
Joe Gibson is a writer, photographer, and trail crew leader based in San Francisco. You can follow his project to document trail work and trail workers at trailcrewstories.com and @trailcrewstories on social media.

Jennifer Grandis – “Gender Equity in Medicine and Science”

Gender inequities are found throughout medicine and science. Stories about men and women physicians and scientists from across the US will be shared with the goal of making inequities visible and identifying potential solutions.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Jennifer R. Grandis is a physician scientist who is interested in the impact of gender on career development in medicine and science. She is an ENT surgeon who studies head and neck cancer with the goals of enabling precision medicine studies. She has leveraged her access to head and neck cancer patients and their biospecimens to optimize translational research studies that include developing novel therapies in the laboratory for clinical application as well as generating and interrogating relevant preclinical models to determine the underlying mechanism of clinical findings.  In her institutional roles at the University of Pittsburgh and since 2015, at UCSF, she has facilitated collaborations between clinicians and investigators with an emphasis of developing a robust research infrastructure to support clinical and translational cancer studies. She has published over 400 papers in the peer-reviewed literature and been continuously funded by the NIH since joining the faculty in 1993. Dr. Grandis is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation the Association of American Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine. She is an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor.

We are as always thrilled to welcome our friends of the show!:
Beats by DJ&Jelly
The San Francisco Public Library
Self-help Tarot with Ben Grandis